Toon’s Blackpool reality check – reaction.

Posted on September 17th, 2009 | 12 Comments |

Hughton 'bitterly disappointed'
Hughton 'bitterly disappointed'
I’ve only got the match reports to go on but the general impression I get is that we were both out-thought and out-fought by Blackpool last night, which has got to be something of a reality check in terms of our Championship aspirations.

Chris Hughton had this to say about the game:

I am bitterly disappointed, Blackpool were better than us in every department, especially in the first half.

We need to regroup quickly as we have another big game at the weekend.

We came into the game a lot more strongly after the break but over 90 minutes we were not the better side.”

Blackpool manager Ian Holloway commented as follows:

I am absolutely delighted, we set off and started to run at Newcastle and passed the ball around them.

I don’t think they realised what was hitting them. We had to draw on a lot of experience, particularly up front with Jason Euell and Brett Ormerod.

We have got to keep this going now and prove that it’s not some sort of one-off.”

Excuses? Well we could bemoan our lack of strikers, which seemed to me to be a problem last weekend at Cardiff, but we did have both Carroll and Ranger fit. Yet for some reason Hughton decided to play Carroll up front on his own and went with a 5-man midfield.

Sometimes though these smaller grounds are threatening in their own way too. You might not have 25,000+ home supporters to contend with but there’s something ‘personal’ about smaller grounds and bigger teams sometimes find that difficult to cope with.

Yet in reality there can be no excuses. We are a Championship club and we have to adapt. We’ve still got to go to places like Scunthorpe, Doncaster, Peterborough and Plymouth – all grounds with a sub 20,000 capacity – and start churning out results.

Still, it’s a wake-up call and maybe that’s no bad thing. There’s always a danger of complacency when you haven’t lost a game all season or conceded a goal in 550 minutes but maybe this result has put our feet firmly back on the ground. It’s up to Hughton and the lads to respond well to the defeat and bounce back for the game against Plymouth on the weekend. It’ll be a test of our resolve that I’m expecting us to pass.

In terms of strengthening our strike force, according to The Mirror Fulham have blocked our move for Kamara because they feel that, with their participation in the Europa League and the Carling Cup, Kamara will be needed. As far as I’m aware we’re still after Marlon Harewood and Daniel Cousin though.

NUFCBlog Author: Hugh de Payen I'm a baby-boomer of the punk rock persuasion, currently exiled in Somerset for crimes committed in a previous life where locals keep trying to poison me with something called 'scrumpy'. Hates sprouts, coat-hangers, Cilla Black, ornaments, Steven Seagull movies and 50 Cent (he's not worth 10). Hugh de Payen has written 634 articles on this blog.

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12 Responses

  1. Probably a timely reminder like you said, not to get carried away. Hardly the end of the world but it may pose questions about Hughton’s tactics and whether he sticks with the current approach. Also a wake-up call over our strengh in depth. I was a little disappointed he dropped Ranger. I would have stuck with him until he was tired. I rate him more highly than Carroll, particularly in this formation where I think Ranger has proved he’s capable of holding the ball up. Fair play to Carroll though for notching. The problem with this sort of defeat is that it obviously wasn’t pretty to watch. That’s been our approach in most games so far. Which has been fine so far with all the winning. Until now.

  2. Like most did not see the game but by the sounds of it we were well beaten, particularly in the first half. Please don’t use the excuses of lack of depth, quality or injuries to key players. Blackpool and most of the other sides in this division all have the same limitations (without the expectation). Last night we used a negative 4-5-1 system as if we were playing a top 4 premiership side. The idea supposedly would be to stop the other team creating and then catch them on the break. In the first half we ‘only’ allowed them 12 shots on target and had to thank Harper for keeping us in the game. Jimmy Armfield commented on how well Carroll was doing but that he lacked any support and we surrendered possession to Blackpool far too easily. Playing up front on your own is a thankless task for even the most experienced forwards, never mind 2 youngsters learning their trade and one just back from injury the other from a long summer of football with little or no break from last season. All pre-season we played Nolan off the front man. Its a position which suits him and he has an eye for goal, but in our last 2 games we have played Guthrie in the more advanced role??? Guthrie is, along with Barton, our most creative midfielder, with a decent pass and vision when playing deep and more central. Barton playing wide left or right is a waste. He is not involved enough and is never going to run past the full back and put a cross in. Barton and Guthrie should have played in centre midfield, with Taylor wide right and Lovenkrands/Lua Lua on the left and Nolan supporting the front man. We had absolutely no pace on the field last night until too late and these negative tactics almost force the opposition to come at you. Our squad, whilst I would welcome 2 or 3 new additions, is stronger (as in quality) and as big as most of the teams we will come up against this year.
    One other thing, if players are tiring and we need fresh legs why do we always take off the younger players. Again last night it was Guthrie and Taylor. Is CH afraid to upset some of the ‘leaders’ by giving them a rest?

  3. knocky – So when I say strength-in-depth in the context of having forward players to prevent the need for defensive tactics, would it still be irrelevant? My point being, we can’t alternate because we don’t have the bodies. We play a defensive formation now a) because he’s reluctant to play the big fellas together b) even if he wanted to, two of them have been injured the last few games. To me we are crying out for strength-in-depth to provide options that would allow us to go out and attack the likes of Blackpool.

  4. It was actually a 4-man midfield – as Butt is so useless, he just puts pressure on his own team. He’d be better off standing still and eating a pie, and trying not to get in the way.

    No Smith=No protection for defence=big probs


  5. BBM -I agree that we do need reinforcements (a quick goalscorer to feed off a big man is a must) but we had enough in the squad last night to perform better than we did. Surely Lovenkrands could have done a job upfront for an hour or so. There’s no point bringing in players like Harewood or King, we have younger options who are similar already. A mate of mine from Birmingham said that down there, there were rumours of us being interested in Kevin Phillips – shock, horror!!!
    That’s not a bad shout – alright not him but that type of player. And maybe an Andy Reid type. We have created nothing in terms of chances in recent games. Note I say these type of players and not actually the current/past unwashed versions.

  6. Yup Batty – we lost the protection, the commitment and the inspirational leadership to the other players….

    I don’t think we’re capable of playing that defensive formation without Smithy….but given Hughton’s obsession with the likes of Geremi and Butt, I don’t think he’s capable of putting out an attacking team.


  7. UTD111 – I don’t like criticising Butt, because I think he’s an honest bloke and a good professional, BUT (not Butt), his form has dovetailed since the beginning of last year and his legs have gone a bit.

    knocky – ah aye, it sounded like were sh*te and no mistake. I’d also not advocate the likes of King, though Harewood might be a decent option on the cheap. We definitely a little fella upfront and to be fair, someone with the creativity of Reid (preferably one looking as fit as he is now) would be a godsend. Who though?

  8. UTD111 – meant to say I agree about Smudge. I’m glad he’s proving people wrong. He’s a good kid, if a little hot-tempered. I genuinely thought we’d all be better off if he went, although I never slated him. But he’s proving me wrong too.

  9. I look at this result this way, we weren’t going to go the whole season unbeaten. As long as we can keep up our home record and take points here and there from away games, we should be ok.
    I still find some peoples reactions to this result as quite incredulous. Braying that we were beaten by a team like Blackpool. We are better than this, etc..
    We aren’t better than this. We are a Championship side because we got what we deserve. We weren’t good enough to stay in the top tier, so we were relegated. Get over it and stop thinking that we somehow deserve to be a top six PL team.